Early college high school to have technical, allied health focus

05.20.2015 | By Rob Vanya

North Shore High School student David Banda prepares material for welding in a class assignment. The new Galena Park Career and Technical Education Early College High School will allow Galena Park ISD students pursing technical or allied health career fields to get a jumpstart on higher education. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.


Partnership with Galena Park ISD launching this Fall


HOUSTON – As the Houston area economy continues to thrive, industry demand for trained welders, pipefitters, nurses, and other middle skills professionals remains high. Accordingly, San Jacinto College and Galena Park ISD are expanding their longstanding partnership with the launch of the Galena Park Career and Technical Education Early College High School (CTE ECHS), which will commence operations at the beginning of the Fall 2015 semester.

The early college high school program will enable students to earn college associate degrees or occupational certificates, and high school diplomas concurrently. The focus of curriculum and training will be in technical/vocational, and allied health career fields. Once commonly called “blue collar,” such careers are now frequently called “middle skills” positions because they generally require more than a high school diploma, but less than a four-year college degree.

Planned vocational and technical fields of study at the CTE ECHS will include welding, engineering design graphics, air conditioning technology, diesel technology, electrical technology, and process technology. Allied health fields of study will include vocational nursing, emergency medical technology, health information management, medical assisting, and pharmacy technology.

The program, one of the first of its kind in the region, will be housed at the San Jacinto College North Campus. High school classes will be housed on the second floor of the Burleson Classroom Building, which is currently undergoing renovations.

The inaugural class will consist of 9th-grade students only, with a new 9th-grade class added in each of the subsequent years. Galena Park ISD will staff the high school with a district principal, counselor, and teachers to administer all 9th- through 12th-grade curriculum. In addition to high school courses, 9th-graders will take one college course per semester. As the students advance, more college courses will be added to their schedules. San Jacinto College professors will teach all college-level courses, which are standard college courses required for certifications or associate degrees.

All Galena Park ISD 8th-grade students may apply to attend the new CTE ECHS. However, students must meet certain requirements. The maximum student enrollment allowed under the state’s early college high school model is 125. If there are more than 125 qualifying applicants, a lottery will determine which 125 students attend.

Elizabeth Lalor, Galena Park ISD assistant superintendent for educational and academic support, says Galena Park administrators and teachers look forward to the launch of the new early college high school venture. “We are very excited about having this opportunity for our students and our community,” Lalor commented. “Students will be able to earn both their high school diplomas and either an associate of applied science degree or a certificate of technology in their chosen fields, in four years and at no cost to the students. We appreciate the partnership with San Jacinto College as we strive to meet the diverse needs of our students and community.”

Pam Campbell, San Jacinto College assistant vice chancellor for educational partnerships, says the program will be a win-win for students and the community. “These courses will target high-wage, high-skill jobs in manufacturing, technology, and allied health industries,” she said. “Our advisory committee industry partners are telling us that these are the people they want to hire; not only people with technical expertise, but those who also have verbal and written communication skills and are able to do the mathematics for the jobs.”

The San Jacinto College North Campus has a wide range of health care simulators and technical equipment to provide practical hands-on training for the early college high school students. Also, work will soon begin at the campus on a new state-of-the-art center for industrial technology that will further enhance training capabilities in most technical programs.

San Jacinto College offers early college high schools and other dual credit options for qualifying high school students at all three campuses. In addition to the new Galena Park program, other accelerated options at the North Campus include the Sheldon Early College High School, and MECA (Modified Early College Academy), which is designed for high-achieving high school students, as well as dual credit programs with Sheldon, Channelview, and Galena Park Independent School Districts. Accelerated programs for high school students at the Central Campus include the Pasadena Early College High School, the La Porte College Center, and dual credit opportunities for students in the Clear Creek, Deer Park, and Pasadena Independent School Districts. The early college high school program at the South Campus is the Clear Horizons Early College High School, a partnership with Clear Creek ISD.  Other accelerated opportunities for high school students include dual credit programs with Clear Creek, Pasadena, and Pearland Independent School Districts.

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit www.sanjac.edu, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Galena Park ISD

Galena Park ISD encompasses 34 square miles along the ship channel in East Harris County. The District serves more than 22,000 students on 24 campuses and employs approximately 3,000 people.

LEADING • LEARNING • SERVING is the focus of the district. Galena Park ISD is leading students toward a brighter future, filled with hope, promise and happiness. Recognizing all students are individuals, staff members are learning new ways to teach, apply and focus instruction that enables each student to be a successful and active learner. GPISD is serving the community and students by providing the best possible education. Galena Park ISD faculty and staff take time daily to reflect on how best to serve students and remain committed to educating students in a safe and secure environment while being a good steward of the resources with which they are entrusted.  This is done not because it is a job, but because it is a calling.

Innovation, planning and teamwork are all key components of Galena Park ISD’s success. Galena Park ISD is excited to partner with various business, education, and governmental entities to provide opportunities and inspiration for students. Partnerships with Harris Health System have brought the Almatha C. Taylor Clinic and the South Side Clinic to local communities. The Galena Park ISD Education Foundation has awarded $1,033,000 in scholarships and innovative teaching grants since its inception in 1998.

For more information on GPISD, please visit www.galenaparkisd.com or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.